Finding Family


Part Sixteen

"Oh, well good morning. Hi, I'm Willow Harris I think you have been expecting me." Willow stood patiently on the door step. She clutched a notepad tightly in her hands and had a pair of Xander's work glasses perched on the tip of her nose.

The face of the large man standing on the other side of the door slipped easily through several conflicting expressions. Anger, surprise, confusion and, as the wheel finally came to a stop, settled on total lack of comprehension. "Who the fuck are you? This is a private residence and whatever you're selling we aren't buying."

Willow did her best to stay calm. She tried to peek in and see if this man was alone but his large shirtless body effectively blocked the entire doorway.

She tried not to show her distaste at his hairy, flabby belly or fur covered back. He smelled strongly of body odor and from the looks of his bare feet nail clippers had not arrived yet in the UK. She assumed this was Will's cousin but even if he wasn't her goal was the same. Keep him here long enough to let Xander get a look around.

She shifted her notebook to the other hand and removed her glasses. "Oh dear, you're not the caretaker are you? Please let me explain. I'm an exchange student from the states studying old English architecture at university. We were given permission by Mr. Rayne to set up on this estate as part of a field study project. In fact there's a whole bus load of other students on their way now. I was sent ahead to unlock the house."

Willow hoped this slab of flesh would not try anything stupid if he thought she was not alone. Taking a deep breath she went into full babble.

"We were told there would not be anyone here. I'm certainly sorry, but I'm afraid there will be at least twenty of us going over this place with a fine tooth comb. But please feel free to go about your business. Whatever that business is. What exactly is your business? Oops, that's kinda nosey and rude isn't it? Anyway we'll try not to get in your way. Oh, and don't worry about your property. My fiance is with Scotland Yard in London and he is going to spend the weekend, so you will be safe as houses. Oh, hey, I made a joke." Taking a deep breath Willow waited patiently to see what the response would be.

The reaction she received was certainly not one she had expected.


The heavy wooden door slammed in her face so quickly she said a brief prayer of thanks that she was far back enough and her nose short enough that she just missed being face flattened with the shape of a gothic door knocker embedded on her forehead.

A huge grin spread over her lips as she thought about telling Will. Whistling, she turned and hopped down the steps as she made her way back to the car. Although not resolved, the situation had certainly taken an interesting turn.


Xander had kept low and worked his way down the row of French doors on the side of the house. The first room was apparently the library. That was the one where he had seen the four occupants. As soon as the man on the sofa rose to answer the door, Xander had slipped on down to the second door.

Peeking in, the room appeared to be a formal dining room. It was hard to tell though with all the damage the room had incurred. He could see that a chandelier had been pulled from the ceiling and pictures knocked off the walls. The center of the huge solid wood table had obviously been burnt and the chairs around it smashed.

Right now, however, this was all irrelevant. There were no people in there and that was his only concern.

Keeping his body flat to the wall he then went to the last door and ducking his head, looked in. This room was smaller. Cozy, or used to be. It was an alcove off the kitchen. Probably a breakfast room. Xander couldn't help but think how wonderful it would be to sit there or step out onto the lanai with their morning coffee.

That's when the realization actually hit him that this was Will's. All of this belonged to his lover and therefore in some ways was also his. A fury shot through him. A possessiveness that screamed 'how dare they!'

Xander stood and looked in. The space was now empty. The small table and chairs that should have been there were missing. Instead it was being used as a garbage dump. Trash bags, food trash, beer cans, and carry out food cartons were strewn everywhere. The only good news seemed to be that this area was also unoccupied.

As far as Xander could see the four in the library were the only people in the house. That meant that Billy must be one of them. Xander's confidence solidified itself in his mind. 'Fuck. No sweat. We can get rid of four drugged up squatters. Easy peasy or we break their kneesys'

Before Xander had the chance to relax into his new found fearlessness a sharp slamming sound accompanied by the shout of voices behind him caused him to drop into the shrubs like a rock.

Every muscle in his body went rigid, his brain screaming just one word. 'WILLOW!' Jumping to his feet, Xander spun around in time to see the first set of doors fly open and the retreating backs of the four residents, still nearly naked, trying to dress as they ran into the woods.

Chivalery must, in fact, be dead as the three men disappeared into the trees leaving the skinny, skanky, female to stagger waveringly behind.

Dashing back, Xander vaulted over the garden wall and bounded towards the front of the house. He was overwhelmed with relief to see Willow resting casually against the rental car.

Pushing off she laughed as she approached him. "Well that was a lot easier than we thought. Why do you think they ran like that? Do you think it was the threat of a boy friend in The Yard?"

Xander joined her in a chuckle. "So that was it. Figures, what with all the drugs they have in there. From what I could see that was all of them. Let's go pick up Will and tell him how well it went."

Before they had the chance to get into the car, Will came jogging up the lane and met them, puffing and out of breath. "Wow! I don't know what the fuck happened, but four of the ugliest half naked people I have ever seen just ran past me. Are you two o.k?"

Willow flipped her hair with pride. Her eyes twinkled with a smile that showed more relief than humor. "Yep, your spy plans worked better than we thought they would. Guess the problem is solved."

Will frowned and let his gaze sweep over the estate. "Not exactly. I don't know who those clowns were, but none
of them were my cousin, Billy. He must still be in the house."

Part Seventeen

Standing on the steps, all three stared back at the manor house till finally, after sucking in a deep breath and blowing it back out, Xander decided it was time to make a move. "Look, all the other rats seem to have abandoned the ship so only your cousin Billy must be left. I say we just march in there and toss his lazy ass out. You two on board with that?"

Willow stepped up quickly. "Sounds like a plan bro. Will?"

Will grabbed both Willow's and Xander's hands. "One for all and all for one. Just like the Musketeers."

Xander squeezed his hand tightly. "Just remember, this is real, not a story. You watch your back and let me take the lead. O.k?"

Will lifted himself up on his tip toes and kissed Xander lightly on the lips. "Gotch. Lead the way D'Artagnan"

Xander groaned but reached for the solid front door and gingerly pushed it open. Sticking his head in he found the open entry space huge and dark. He let his eyes scan quickly as his ears strained for any sound. There was nothing.

Signaling to the others they all three stepped inside. Will was overwhelmed by what he saw and it took all his strength not to weep. The beautiful manor house had been trashed. The wonderful antique furniture was smashed and what wasn't destroyed had obviously been stolen. Stained places on the walls were testament to missing pieces of valuable art that had once hung there.

One thing was sure. In the short time Billy had been living there he must have thrown some legendary parties.

Realizing Will was getting sidetracked by the things around them, Xander grabbed him by the shoulders and shook. "Not now, Will. We have to stay focused. All this can be straightened out later. Right now we need to find the weasel that has taken up residence on your property."

Xander could see his eyes clear and his focus return. He knew Will was back with them. "Think, Baby, in all this huge house do you have any idea where he might be?"

Will dropped his head as he considered the question. Just before shaking his head "no", his face lit up. "Yes. Whenever he came here as a child I always used to catch him sneaking up to my Grandfather's rooms. He said he wanted to live like that when he grew up. I don't think he realized till he got older that he had no claim on property that was on my Mother's side of the family. Come on. If he's here I'll bet that is where he is."

Will rushed to the massive center staircase and bounded up the stairs two at a time. Xander could see how comfortable and 'at home' he was here and it only served to feed into his insecurities and fears that Will would want to stay. "God damn it Will, wait. I told you to stay behind me." Xander dashed after him, but Will was already up the stairs and waiting at the head of the long hallway.

As soon as the other two were with him Will whispered harshly, waving his arms and pointing. "Shh. This way."

Quickly and quietly they moved down the wide, carpeted hallway. The doors to the rooms on each side of the hall were
closed and under other circumstances the builder in Xander would have him happily exploring every inch of the incredible mansion. Right now, however, he was entirely drawn toward the double doors at the end of the hall that Will was indicating led to the master's suite.

Reaching the doors, the three stood to the side and waited. Each listening for any sound from inside the room or anywhere else around them. Xander wiped his sweaty palms on the front of his pants. He wasn't so much afraid for himself as for Will and Willow. Xander knew he would lay down his life for his lover and his sister. They were his family, his life, but what if he wasn't quick enough. What if this was a trap and Billy was expecting them?

Xander laid his ear flat against the solid thick door and strained to hear any sound from within. The other two looked at him questioningly. Xander shrugged his shoulders.

Unable to bear the tension any longer, Willow pushed past her two men and reached for the door knob. Unlocked, it turned easily. With no further hesitation she opened the door and stepped into the room. Instantly she slapped her hand over her nose. The stench in the room was over powering. It was the smell of body odor, vomit, urine and way too much unwashed sex.

Her stomach involuntarily dry heaved.

Xander and Will had entered on her heels and were also having a hard time controlling their reaction to the condition of the room. Giving their eyes a moment to adjust to the dark Xander found his way to the long heavy drapes that had been pulled tight against the light of day.With a snap of the wrist he went down the row and jerked all five open.

Like flipping a switch the room was flooded in the blinding light of day. Immediately all eyes turned to the huge four poster bed that sat in the center.

Just as suspected, it was not empty. In the midst of a mountain of tangled, soiled sheets and blankets laid a lump with dark blond hair. Laying on his stomach with his face turned away one leg and one arm stuck out of the edge of the covers leaving no doubt to the fact that he slept naked.

Any fear Will had been feeling now turned to pure disgust and even a little shame that this waste of a human being was related to him. Approaching the bed Will leaned over. "Billy! Get up! Get your ass out of that bed!"

Without turning his head or questioning who was giving him orders, Billy buried himself deeper. "Fuck you. Go away. I'm fuckin' sleeping you moron!"

Before Will could respond Xander took his arm and pulled him back signaling him with a shake of his head. Xander had had enough of this whole ridiculous charade. As far as he was concerned it was "game over." With one fell swoop Xander jerked the covers off Billy's entire body. Without waiting to see what Billy would say to this Xander lifted his foot and painfully kicked the sleeping man directly in the bare ass knocking him to the floor.

"WHAT THE FUCK? Whoever did that better run cause when I catch you you're dead meat!"

Xander's laugh was cut short when another head popped out. "Billy, Honey, what happened?"

The room went quiet.

Part Eighteen

"Well, well, well. Look who has arrived to throw his poor homeless cousin out into the cold. And brought muscle with him, he did. So tell me Willy me boy, was it the fossilized caretakers who stuck their noses in my business and sent for you?"

Billy stumbled, attempted to get to his feet and fell back onto his ass. He rubbed his hands over his bloodshot eyes and tried again. This time he was able to grab onto the side of the bed and steady himself on shaky legs.

"Who is it Billy? What's happening?" The head that had poked out from under the bedding now showed a set of striking hazel eyes and a small upturned nose.

"Shut the fuck up Deena and mind your own fuckin' business. Stupid fuckin' bitch."

Billy sat down on the edge of the bed still stark naked and apparently unconcerned by it. With his legs spread wide, he casually scratched his nuts and waited to see how this family reunion would play out. The other occupant of the bed had followed orders to a tee, rolling over and giving the impression she had gone back to sleep.

Everyone in the room could tell she had a great deal of practice doing as she was told.

"Get your ass up now, Billy. Get dressed and get downstairs. We will expect you there in five minutes. That should be plenty of time considering the way you smell I don't imagine you spend a lot of time in the shower." Without waiting for a response to his directions Will turned and left the room with Xander at his side.

Billy cocked his head to the side, winked and blew Willow a kiss causing her skin to crawl and her stomach to lurch. She joined her boys downstairs to wait.

Surprisingly, less than ten minutes later, Billy, now dressed in a pair of filthy, stained jeans and a ripped t-shirt, joined the others in the library. The room was in total disarray. Garbage strewn about and evidence of drug use everywhere.

A piano that his Grandmother had lovingly taught him to play sat with wine spilled over it. A pair of thong panties protruded from the storage area of the bench seat. The oak table in the corner that once held a television, stereo, and video player was now empty, cut wires jutting from the wall. Another casualty of the local pawn shop. None of those things mattered to Will. This wasn't about money.

This was a matter of personal pride and ownership. This was property that his family had built and maintained for generations. It was now his and his responsibility to keep up. He had failed in his responsibility.

This was his past and it was always assumed, would be passed on to his children or grandchildren. A concern that had been eating away at him for a long time. There would be no children and Will was often overwhelmed with shame and concern that it would end with him. The family name, the property ownership, everything.

He had wanted to talk to Xander about it and, in fact, had tried several times, but the subject was difficult to broach. Especially since he could see no solution. He had even considered leaving it to any children Willow may have. She was family.

He knew one thing though, even if he never had anyone to pass this on to he would make sure it sat empty or was sold off first. Whatever he decided, this estate would NEVER belong to the worthless slug Billy Barton.

Billy stood in the doorway and let his eyes cruise around. "Damn, if I recall right, it was a hell of a party last night. Course it's a hell of a party every night around here. Too bad you missed it."

Billy laughed as he sauntered in and leaned against the fireplace mantle. He then lit what was very obviously NOT a store bought cigarette. Xander instantly crossed the room and slapped it out of his mouth.

"Hey!" Billy quickly bent over to retrieve his property.

Xander again kicked him in the ass. This time Billy did not accept it with humor or a drug hungover weakness. Jumping up he stood nose to nose with Xander. Size wise they were equally matched, but Will knew Xander's strength. He knew his lover could snap Billy in half and never break a sweat. He was tempted to let him.

Willow, however, was not. Stepping between them she placed a hand on each of their chests and gently separated them. "Knock it off, both of you. We are going to try to settle this without bloodshed." Giving Billy a small shove in the direction of the sofa and Xander towards the chair she relaxed as she felt them reluctantly move apart.

Seeming to lose interest in Xander, Billy now turned his attention to his cousin. "This is a family matter Will. How are you going to bring in outsiders? Can't handle me on your own?"

Will refused to let Billy get under his skin. Throwing his arm over the back of the badly damaged wing chair he reined in his temper before answering. "These are my friends. I asked them to travel with me and I invited them to stay here. In MY house. Seems to me that you are the only one here that shouldn't be."

Billy's mouth fell open at Will's new found bravado. The sniveling little cousin he remembered would have snuck away rather than face a confrontation. He then threw his head back and let out a loud barking laugh.  "You? Friends? Well, hell. Looks like Chicken Little was right after all. The fuckin' sky is about to fall."

The rest of the room remained silent.

Finally regaining control, Billy gave serious consideration to the strangers facing him. "So, this your girlfriend? Your intended? Your piece of fluff?"  Then slowly his eyes drifted to Xander. "Or maybe this is your woman? That it? Are you little Willy's woman?"

Again the room stayed quiet.

Billy's shocked face exploded in another round of raucus laughter. "That's it innit? You two are butt buddies. Oh, fuck, that's just priceless. And what does Red here do? She get to watch? Cause I gotta tell you little cousin, I wouldn't mind a front row seat myself."

Unconcerned or surprised that he was the only one laughing, Billy continued to grab his stomach and roll around on the sofa. Before he had the chance to pull himself together he opened his eyes just as the small pale hand slapped him sharply across the face.

Fury replaced humor in the flip of a switch. Jumping to his feet Billy grabbed Willow's hand just seconds before she had the chance to swing again.

Rushing over, the room erupted in confusion and chaos as all four struggled to separate each other and still get in a punch or two on their own. Shouting, shoving, pulling and pushing.

No amount of force could have stopped the free for all that was not landing nearly as many blows as the participants had hoped.

One thing did. One small voice cut through the craziness and caused all four combatants to freeze in place.

"Billy? What's happening? Are they here to throw us out?"

All eyes turned toward the doorway and woman standing there. Small, dark haired with olive skin, but it wasn't her beauty that had them all speechless. It was her huge, swollen, very pregnant belly.

"Oh, fuck!"

Xander stepped back and knew the rules of the game had just changed.

Part Nineteen

All hands let loose of whatever fabric, hair or skin they were presently clutching and the four combatants quickly separated.

As the three took a minute to let the implication of what they were seeing sink in, Billy sauntered over and threw his arm around the pregnant woman's shoulders pulling her to him harshly.

No one missed the involuntary flinch in her eyes when he touched her.

"Deena, my dear, you must come in and meet everyone." Billy retained his grip on her, steering and turning her body
physically in the direction of each person as they were introduced.

"First up is my loving cousin William. He is the one with all the money that he is so reluctant to share with his poorer relatives. Would rather see it all sit here empty instead of letting us share in the wealth. Down right inhospitable, that one is." Waving his free hand in the air he continued. "Yes, all this is his. Everything from the bed we fuck in to the television we watch. That is when we still had a television."

Cupping his hand at the side of his mouth he whispered theatrically in Will's direction. "Seems as though most of the electronic entertainment has mysteriously disappeared from the house."

William refused to give him the satisfaction of a response. Besides, what would be the point. Whereever the stolen items went, there was no retrieving them now.

Billy chuckled alone at his joke then turned her to face Xander. "This my dear is our sweet Will's lover. I know how shocking that is for you but we must face the truth. Our little Will is a homo and this big strong good looking guy is his wife. Or is it husband?"

This time it was Xander who had to grit his teeth to keep from shoving the palm of his hand into Billy's face and driving his nose up into his brain, killing him instantly. It was a mental picture that helped calm him.

Deena dropped her eyes, ashamed of Billy's crude words, but too fearful to correct him. Grabbing a handful of the back of her hair he then jerked her face back up and her attention to Willow. "We haven't actually ascertained who this lovely young thing is but isn't she gorgeous? All slim and trim. Absolutely delicious. Just like you used to be before you got all fat and disgusting. I'm just sure she is someone we want to get to know better."

Letting his eyes slither up and down the length of Willow's body,  Billy licked his lips and sneered. "Much better"

Fortunately Willow had grown up with a brother that worked construction. She had dealt with more than her fair share of sleazy characters and was beyond being shocked by this one. "Yes, well as flattered as I am by your attention and romantic intentions the fact is I would rather stick my tongue in an outhouse hole than spend five minutes alone with you, which won't be a problem seeing as how you're leaving." Willow smiled sweetly and batted her eyelashes.

This time it was Will and Xander who had a good laugh. Even Deena cracked a smile, making sure to keep her face turned where she couldn't be seen.

Unfortunately no one thought for a minute that it was going to be that easy.

Releasing Deena's hair with a shove that caused her head to snap forward, Billy jumped to his feet. "You need to watch your mouth, Red. Women should be seen and not heard. Unless of course it's to beg or grunt."

Billy pumped his hips graphically in Willow's direction causing Xander to leap to stand between them. He had had enough. "Let's get one thing straight. She's my sister and if you insult her one more time I'm gonna rip your head off and shit down your neck. You got that?'

Billy quickly threw up both hands and lowered himself back onto the sofa. "No harm no foul. Didn't know you were so sensitive. Just joking."

Will felt the familiar stirring in his pants that always occurred when Xander's protective macho side appeared. His cock was definitely a testosterone junky. And his Xander was all man. Will suddenly wondered where they would be sleeping tonight.

Propping his filthy feet up on what used to be a valuable coffee table Billy sighed and patted Deena on the stomach. "Well, as you can see we are with child. Got us a bun in the oven. A millstone around our necks. Due any time now, so you couldn't possibly throw us out. Not even you, my dear cousin, are that selfish and cruel are you?"

Xander was temporarily stumped. There was no way he could cause a pregnant woman with no money to be homeless.

Willow was fighting everything in her that screamed for her to run to Deena's side. Bring her food, rub her belly, and feel for the baby to move.

Will was much more pragmatic. He knew his cousin much too well to believe for a second that Billy was the least little bit concerned with this woman or the child she was carrying. He remembered as children watching Billy stomp a small rabbit to death just to see what it would feel like. Will had cried for a week and begged his grandfather not to let Billy come back. Billy of course had convinced everyone that it had been an accident. That he tripped and stepped on it by mistake. Billy was a very good liar.

Will crossed his arms and studied the couple across from him. "I wouldn't dream of throwing a pregnant woman out into the street. She can stay. You can go."

Billy's face turned red and the vein in his neck throbbed. "Fuck you! You think you are so much cause you got money and a fancy house? Fuck you! You don't own this. I own this." He grabbed Deena's arm and shook her roughly. "I own her and the fuckin' baby she's carrying. She stays, I stay. I go then she goes with me."

Will sat there calmly thinking it over. He was out of options and everyone in the room knew it.


"You can stay till she has the baby. When the baby is one week old you will be out whether it is on your own or with the help of the law. I suggest you start looking for a place to live. Oh, I've got an idea, why don't you do something really outrageous, like get a job."

Billy laughed. Now that the little matter between them was settled he was feeling much more relaxed and back in charge.

"Don't be silly. You know I was never a regular nine to five type of bloke. Sides, not like you have to work. All you had to do was sit around and wait on a few relatives to die to collect their money. As I recall you even hurried one of them along. Maybe that's what I should do. You feeling nice and healthy, cousin?"

Billy roared with laughter as he left the room.

Part Twenty

The disarray in the library showed itself not only in the objects lying broken and missing from the room but also in the thoughts and feelings of the four people left sitting there.

Deena was finally the first to break the silence. "I'm really sorry about all this. We just didn't have anywhere else to go. He wasn't always like that, you know. When I first met Billy about a year ago I thought he was the sweetest, most thoughtful person on earth. I admit we did party a lot but we only got drunk."

No one moved to stop her talking. All recognized her need to somehow explain her situation.

Deena rubbed her small hands across her lower back and tried to work out the kinks. "He was working part time delivering newspapers, but it was hard for him to get up in the mornings so after missing a few days they fired him. It wasn't fair at all the way they treated him. He's better than a petty job like that anyway. With no money coming in he had to move into my small flat with me. It was his idea but I didn't mind. We were in love." She shrugged her shoulders. "Didn't take long before I got preggers."

Deena rubbed her hands lovingly over her swollen belly and continued. "It really pissed him off that I could be that careless and stupid. Guess he's right. Anyway once I started getting big and ugly he started staying out all night. Sometimes longer. When he did come back he acted all crazy. Not drunk, just wacky. Wacky and mean. That's when I found out about the drugs. He knew how I felt about dope but he said he had to sell it for money for the baby, but there wasn't any money. Not for me and the baby. Just plenty of money for more drugs.

A couple months ago I had to stop working. I did factory work and couldn't stand on my feet all day any more. After thirty days of no rent they threw us out of the flat. That's when we came here. Billy said it would be all right." Deena looked to Will pleadingly.

"Said this place belonged to a rich relative that wanted us to use it. The stealing and parties didn't start till about two weeks ago. I told him it was wrong but if I complained he.......well, he got upset. Then the others started coming round. People he met in the pubs in town. I think some of the women were.........more than friends." Her voice on the last words was low and sad.

Deena hung her head to conceal the tears that rolled down her cheek. Willow got up and went to the other woman. Sitting down beside her she cringed at the warmth of the spot where Billy had been sitting. Running her fingers gently through Deena's hair, Willow pulled her close. "Does he hit you?"

Denna nodded against Willow's shoulder.

"Have you been to a doctor lately?"

The soft hair shook back and forth.

"Do you want us to get rid of him?"

Deena raised her face and immediately pushed away. "No! I love him. I need him. Our baby needs him. Once the baby is born he promised no more drugs. He said he will get a proper job and take care of us."

Willow pulled her in again and rubbed her back. The last thing she wanted was to see Deena upset. Pointing out the bullshit in that false hope would do nothing to help this situation. "O.k. I'm sure everything will work out. Right now we just need to take care of you. When was the last time you ate?"

Deena looked up at her and had to pause to think. "Yesterday? Billy sometimes brings me hamburgers or fish and chip take away, but I guess he forgot today."

Listening to the exchange had Will and Xander fuming. Both knew if they sat there any longer somebody would be in line for a serious ass whoopin'. Will stood and took Xander's hand. "We'll go to the kitchen and see if we can find anything."

Still hand in hand the two men hurried down the hallway through the dining room. Will slowed, amazed that he could still be shocked by the damage. Xander who had already seen the destruction when he peered in from outside, tugged him by the hand encouraging him on. "Not now, Baby. It's all just stuff."

Xander could see his lover was starting to drown in the overwhelming weight of responsibility and pressure and he had no intention of letting that happen. Xander knew he had to find a way to help shoulder some of that weight without giving any hint of disrespect to Will or his position here.

Between the library, bedrooms, and dining room, both men thought they had seen the worse.

They knew the instant they stepped into the kitchen that they hadn't.

The stench of rotting food was mind boggling. The sink stood full of scum covered water that was being used as a spa for the maggots and fly larva that were swimming there. Every dish, even the fine china and silver, was food crusted and stacked.

It was impossible to tell what the food was unless one of them was willing to scrape off the mold. Which neither was.

As expected the cupboards and food pantry were bare save a few cans of soup and vegetables that were kept for emergencies. The fact that Billy couldn't even fix her a bowl of soup fired Will's temper a notch higher.

Xander stood with his hands on his hips unsure where to start. It was the tearful face of the man he loved that snapped him out of his stupor and got him moving. "Well. First things first. You take Willow into the village and pick up some groceries. I'm going to start cleaning up this mess. Get something we can fix for everyone quick and easy. Also stock up on the usuals, cereal, meat, you know, how you shop at home."

Overwhelmingly grateful to Xander Will resolved to never again complain about his lover's 'take charge' attitude. He nodded and quickly turned to collect Willow, glad to be escaping this nightmare if only for a little while.

"Oh, Will?"

Will stopped in the kitchen doorway and looked back. "Yes?"

"Buy garbage bags. Lots of garbage bags."

Will nodded his agreement and hurried away.

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